Saturday, July 04, 2015

One more Democrat

(Source: Democratic Party)
Yesterday, another longshot, James Henry “Jim” Webb, Jr., announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president. It seems to me that Webb, Lincoln Chaffee and Martin O’Malley, are actually angling for the nomination for Vice President, because they’re all not very likely to win the presidential nomination.

Webb, a decorated veteran of the US Navy, had a varied post-military career. He was Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs (1984-87) and then Secretary of the Navy for a little less that a year (1987-88), all in Ronald Reagan’s presidency. He was the first Naval Academy graduate to serve as the civilian head of the US Navy, but resigned because he refused to agree to reducing the size of the navy. Reagan wrote, "I don't think Navy was sorry to see him go."

After resigning, he wrote and made films (one of which won an Emmy), and commented on politics. In 2006, he defeated Republican incumbent Republican US Senator from Virginia, George Allen. He served one term in the US Senate, retiring in 2012. Among other things, Webb as Senator was a strong critic of George W. Bush.

Like all the Democratic candidates (and unlike ALL Republican candidates), Webb supports marriage equality, and like most of the Democrats, he evolved on the issue (see also: “4 Things You Should Know About The Democrat Who Just Added His Name To The 2016 Line Up”, and also, “Where They Stand: Webb on some issues of 2016 campaign”).

Webb is 69, which makes him the second-oldest among the Democratic candidates. On Inauguration Day, he’ll be 70 years, 347 days. Bernie Sanders is the oldest of all the candidates in either party. The oldest US President, Ronald Reagan, was 69 years, 349 days when he was sworn in.

My take on all this is that Webb and Chafee are probably the most conservative among the Democrats, but this is very relative: Compared to any of the Republicans, they’re liberals, but compared to Hillary Clinton, Sanders and O’Malley, he and Chafee are more conservative. That would appeal to certain segments of the Democratic base, but could be more important as running mates than as actual candidates. That’s because the eventual Democratic nominee will probably be running against a very conservative Republican, so the presidential candidate needs to be more centrist in order to have a difference, but may need a more conservative running mate for “balance”.

In any case, nothing has changed so far in what I think will happen: The Democratic nominee will be either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders (and I still think it’ll be Hillary). The best O’Malley can hope for is that Democrats turn to him as an alternative to the top two candidates, but his best bet may be as a running mate—but that may also be unlikely since he’s centre-left, overall. Neither Chafee nor Webb can win the nomination, but if they can demonstrate some popularity among voters, they might have a shot at being nominated for vice president.

All of this could change in the weeks ahead. If Bernie continues to draw large crowds as he did the other day in Madison, Wisconsin, and does so in places that are not strongly left-of-centre, it could create the momentum—and campaign donations—he needs to move ahead. I just can’t see O’Malley, Chafee, or Webb pulling that off, but you never know: It’s still some seven months until the first primary votes are cast.

Finally, the image up top was used in an email sent by the Democratic Party to its supporters. They were trying to get donations to help the party campaign for Democrats in 2016. What struck me about the image, first, is that I wouldn’t choose to vote for any of the Republicans, and second, I’d vote for any of the Democrats. The sad thing about that is that I can’t imagine that changing in the foreseeable future.

Yesterday, there was still 1 year, 4 months, and 6 days until the US presidential election.

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